Ra­jesh Jain

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and CEO, Sports And Leisure Ap­parel Lim­ited - La­coste Li­censee in In­dia

Images Retail - - STORES CEOS LOVE -

Fa­vorite In­dian store on the pa­ram­e­ters of Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing, In­te­rior De­sign, Win­dows Dis­play, Light­ing, In-store Tech­nol­ogy & En­gage­ment Driv­ers:

While all our Bou­tiques are en­gag­ing, I would like to men­tion two stores here as my favourites - Link­ing Road, Mum­bai & Mall of In­dia, Noida.

Mall of In­dia: The best part of this store is that it has a beau­ti­ful wide façade. Our stan­dard pre­mium con­cept fur­ni­ture with brown fix­tures helps the cus­tomers to have clear vis­i­bil­ity of our wide range of prod­ucts. The Bou­tique pro­vides easy nav­i­ga­tion to the cus­tomers. Link­ing Road: This high street Bou­tique has a lovely façade with a lawn in the front that gives a leisurely yet lux­u­ri­ous feel to this des­ti­na­tion store. Built on our Agora con­cept fur­ni­ture, this store is spread across two floors and is also great from vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing per­spec­tive.

Fa­vorite global store on the same pa­ram­e­ters:

My favourite global La­coste store is “Champs El­y­sees” Bou­tique in Paris. With an area of 400 sqm spread across three lev­els this store was de­signed by Christophe Pil­let, the fa­mous French de­signer. One high­light of this store is the Polo wall and Polo Bar that dis­play a wide range of La­coste Clas­sic Polo. The en­tire range of La­coste can be seen in the store with beau­ti­fully de­signed space for all cat­e­gories for men. Women and kids.

Role of Franchising as a way of ex­pand­ing a brand’s re­tail foot­print:

In to­day’s fast chang­ing re­tail eco sys­tem, one has to be present at the right place to tap the tar­get au­di­ence. One of the ma­jor ben­e­fits of run­ning a fran­chise model is that Fran­chisees bring an ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of their lo­cal mar­kets that can help a brand to un­der­stand the au­di­ence be­hav­iour faster. Sec­ond, the Fran­chisees have a bet­ter con­trol in terms of han­dling the lo­cal op­er­a­tions. There­fore, with the help of a Fran­chisee, a brand can ex­pe­ri­ence ease of op­er­a­tions in day-to-day life while op­er­at­ing in dif­fer­ent re­gions. Third, a brand can speed up its ex­pan­sion through Fran­chisee busi­ness model.

Im­por­tant points to be kept in mind in choos­ing the right fran­chiser/ fran­chise:

Work­ing on a mix of Com­pany Owned and Fran­chisee distri­bu­tion model can re­ally help in the long run if fran­chisee part­ners are se­lected care­fully. One should be ex­tra cau­tious in choos­ing the right Fran­chise part­ner. While there could be many brand spe­cific pa­ram­e­ters, a brand should in­vest time and en­ergy in pre­screen­ing of the prospec­tive Fran­chisee. In ad­di­tion, the brand should scru­ti­nise the Fran­chisee upon the fol­low­ing pa­ram­e­ters: Fi­nan­cial Health

Ex­ist­ing Port­fo­lio In­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence & knowl­edge Above all, it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to have a like­minded Fran­chisee part­ner, who can un­der­stand Brand pa­ram­e­ters ad brand DNA and can im­ple­ment the guide­lines with­out any com­pro­mise.

Chal­lenges/shifts in buy­ing be­hav­ior in the re­tail in­dus­try:

One of the big­gest chal­lenges for the fash­ion re­tail in­dus­try in In­dia con­tin­ues to be the non­avail­abil­ity of the pre­mium re­tail de­vel­op­ment at the right cost and right terms. While per square me­ter cost of oc­cu­pa­tion in In­dia is al­most at par with most other ma­tured mar­kets, per square me­ter sales and sell through are not as high. The sec­ond chal­lenge in the In­dian re­tail sec­tor that has cropped up in the last 3-4 years is per­pet­ual dis­count­ing/ pro­mo­tions. In my view, dis­count­ing could be a short-term tac­tic to at­tract the cus­tomers but long-term strat­egy is to de­liver cus­tomer de­light through great prod­uct at the right prices in the right en­vi­ron­ment with great cus­tomer ser­vice.

Dif­fer­ent from the Rest:

We are known for our strict clean-cut de­sign codes and aes­thetic. We con­tinue to work to­wards cre­at­ing a lux­u­ri­ous shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment, al­low­ing the qual­ity of prod­uct and de­sign to take cen­ter­stage. While de­vel­op­ing the new prod­ucts, we in­no­vate for style & free­dom of move­ment. The end cus­tomer should get an iconic wardrobe, con­tem­po­rary & ur­ban, in­spired by sport & French el­e­gance. We be­lieve in in­no­va­tion from the word go. The first in­no­va­tion that we do is on our prod­ucts. We start work­ing on our launches more than one year in ad­vance. Ev­ery time, a lot of ex­ten­sive re­search & ef­fort is put in to de­vel­op­ing the new col­lec­tion. Ev­ery 1-2 months, we launch new prod­ucts to keep the points of sale look­ing fresh. We also be­lieve in try­ing out new things; there­fore, we keep on col­lab­o­rat­ing with il­lus­tri­ous de­sign­ers on a global level to give the best to our cus­tomers. Above all, el­e­gance re­quires clothes that are adapted to the sit­u­a­tion or cir­cum­stances. Tak­ing cus­tomer de­light as

our top pri­or­ity, we take our Cus­tomer Ser­vice and Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing very se­ri­ously. A very im­por­tant part of our over­all scheme of things is to en­sure con­sis­tency. Whether a cus­tomer shops in In­dia or Paris or China or US, he gets ex­actly the same en­vi­ron­ment and the same mer­chan­dise. This helps us in main­tain­ing sim­i­lar cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence across the world.

Ex­pan­sion Plans:

Whether we go in for a high-street or a mall, our lo­ca­tions are cho­sen very care­fully. It has to be a pre­mium en­vi­ron­ment; even our ad­ja­cen­cies have to be pre­mium. At the same time, we also look at the cus­tomer pro­file in that ter­ri­tory, so that we don’t keep on open­ing too many doors. We are very se­lec­tive. Delhi and Mum­bai be­ing the most im­por­tant mar­kets, the brand has much deeper pen­e­tra­tion in these mar­kets and in­tends to ex­pand fur­ther. We are keenly watch­ing the pre­mium de­vel­op­ments in Tier-i & II ci­ties both in terms of con­sumer de­mo­graph­ics and psy­cho­graph­ics and also rel­e­vant re­tail de­vel­op­ments. We started en­ter­ing ci­ties near met­ros a cou­ple of years back and have re­ceived a good con­sumer re­sponse in those ci­ties as well. We are open to ex­plor­ing store open­ing at any lo­ca­tion in In­dia where like­minded brands are present and qual­ity in­fra­struc­ture is avail­able.

Vy­tau­tas Kielaitis / Shut­ter­stock.com

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